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Our History Timeline

Church of Our Saviour has been a presence in the Fond du Lac community since 1923. The church was first envisioned by a group of area Lutherans who saw the need for an English-speaking congregation at a time when many area Lutherans were recent immigrants who still worshipped in their native German language.

 

Organized as a mission congregation of the United Lutheran Church by the Rev. B. J. Stecker and chartered in January 1925, the parish soon acquired the property at the corner of 9th and Main. A basement was built in which to hold worship services, but plans for a church building were delayed by the Great Depression. The church building that still stands today was finally completed and dedicated in 1937. The educational wing was added in 1961.

1920's

 

1924

  • September - Rev. B.J. Stecker, Field Missionary for Northern Wisconsin, arrives in FdL to organize a mission congregation

  • October 24 - 1st Service held in YMCA building.

 

1925

  • 47 members sign Charter Roll of Our Saviour's - English Evangelical Lutheran Church between 11/4/24 and 4/12/25.

  • Church property purchased 9-24-25 and basement construction begun.

  • 1st service held in basement on Christmas Eve, 1925.

 

1926

  • June 24, Basement dedicated.

 

1927

  • July 24, Rev. Stecker installed.

 

1929

  • Services continued in basement; plans to raise funds to complete construction are put on hold.

  • Choir represented city and sang on radio station WTMJ in Milwaukee.

 

1930's

 

1931

  • Name is changed to Church of Our Saviour Evangelical Lutheran

 

1933

  • 1st Builder is printed (parish newsletter).

 

1935

  • January 27th - Church 10 yr. Anniversary.

 

1936

  • Plans made to complete church - Building Committee is formed.

 

1937

  • Sanctuary (main floor of church) is built for $54,921.62.

  • Organist Elinor Johnson hired (1937-1967).

  • Nov. 21 - Church Building Dedication.

  • Home purchased for Parish House at 9th and Center Streets.

 

1940's

 

1945

  • Mar. 11, Dedication of second Parish "Youth" House at 10th and Main Streets.

 

1949

  • COOS sponsors Latvian immigrants in aftermath of World War II.

 

1950's

 

1950

  • 25th Anniversary of Church of Our Saviour is celebrated.

  • Son of the parish - Jerald Brauer ordained.

 

1951

  • Son of the parish - Ralph Loges ordained.

 

1954

  • Vicar Robert Ovrebo (1954-1955).

 

1955

  • Youth House purchased.

  • Vicar Robert Garz (1955-1956).

 

1956

  • Assistant Pastor Friederick Reinke (1956-1958).

 

1958

  • Parish worker Sharon (Wilson) Romberg (1958-1961).

  • Service Book and Hymnal (red hymnal) purchased and put into use.

  • Mortgages of Church Building burned.

 

1960's

 

1960

  • Intern John Loberg (1960-1961).

  • Church Sea Scout Troop: SES Northland, is organized.

 

1961

  • Dec. 10, Dedication of Education and Administration wing.

 

1962

  • Through its affiliation with the United Lutheran Church (ULC) the congregation is now a member parish of the Lutheran Church in America (LCA).

  • Vicar Theodore Romberg (1962-1963).

 

1963

  • New Hammond electronic organ installed at cost of $11,000.

  • Couples Club started.

 

1964

  • Asst. Pastor Martin Ruge (1964-1966).

  • Lois Weigelt is hired as office secretary (1964-1994).

 

1966

  • Rev. Stecker retires.

  • Sep. 24, Rev. Paul Kuenning installed as Senior Pastor.

 

1967

  • Assistant Pastor Dean Marin (1967-1969).

  • Organist Elinor Johnson resigns; Nora Price hired (1967-1984).

 

1968

  • 1st radio broadcast of worship service.

  • 21 members are in Armed Forces, with at least half of them serving in Vietnam.

 

1969

  • Church Council divides over Pastor Kuenning's leadership regarding civil rights and Vietnam war issues and - 8 members resign.

  • Purchased house on Main Street between the Youth House and the Church.

  • Head Start daycare program takes up residence in COOS facilities (through 1975).

 

1970's

 

1970

  • Rev. Kuenning resigns to accept a call to Incarnation Lutheran in Milwaukee.

  • Vice Pastor, Rev. John Sell (1970-1971).

  • Quilting group begins making quilts for Lutheran World Relief.

 

1971

  • Mary Arthur hired as secretary (1971 - 1979).

  • Rev. Richard H. Englund is installed as Senior Pastor on Sept. 2.

  • Church-owned houses south of Church are sold and moved from church site.

 

1972

  • Parishoner Iva Beau wins Ecology Award.

  • Rev. Englund's idea of Food Pantry becomes reality and finds home base within the church.

 

1973

  • Radio broadcast of Sunday Services on WFON-FM resumes.

  • Son of the Parish - James Barsch ordained.

 

1974

  • Improvement Fund drive conducted by Lutheran Laymen's Movement; included plans to renovate the sanctuary and basement.

 

1975

  • Church's 50th Anniversary celebration; renovated basement is renamed Stecker Hall.

  • FDL Nursery School takes up residence (1975-86).

 

1976

  • Rev. Englund resigns to accept a call to Trinity Lutheran in Chambersburg PA.

  • Rev. Paul Dawson serves as Vice Pastor from June through August.

  • Rev. Gerald V. Goodrich installed as fourth Senior Pastor of COOS, Aug. 29, 1976.

 

1977

  • Lutheran Social Services (LSS) establishes a branch office in COOS building, staffed by Pastor Fritz Youra (through approx. 1982).

 

1978

  • Assistant Pastor Rev. Brent Gustafson (1978-81).

 

1979

  • Janet Radke hired to direct Senior Choir (1979-1994).

  • Lutheran Book of Worship (green hymnal) is purchased and implemented.

  • XYZ Groups begins (Extra Years of Zest).

  • Rev. B.J. Stecker dies.

 

1980's

 

1981

  • Oct. 25, Joanne Talaska becomes Church Worker / Ministry Assistant (1981 - 1993).

  • Jill Bjornstad is hired as Office Secretary (1981-1990).

 

1982

  • Elevator addition constructed and elevator installed at cost of $106,000.

 

1983

  • Congregation becomes involved in community-wide Loves and Fishes program.

 

1984

  • Jan. 18, Pam Lane becomes organist.

  • Rebecca Ebb ordained Dec. 16.

 

1985

  • Congregation votes to purchase new pipe organ at cost of $120,000.

  • Balcony and ceiling remodeled for $51,760.

  • Youth delegation attends National Youth Gathering.

 

<

1986

  • Installation of Memorial Bell and Crosses.

  • Lollipop Park Learning Center becomes tenant in COOS building.

  • New wood ceiling installed to enhance organ acoustics.

 

1987

  • Sep. 21, Hand Bell set purchased and Hand Bell Choir organized by Janet Radke.

  • Klaus Becker Tracker Organ constructed in Germany, installed, and dedicated on Nov. 28.

 

1988

  • Jackie Sandene serves as Youth Choir Director.

  • 60th Anniversary concert.

 

1989

  • Installed new sound system.

  • Rev. Goodrich celebrates 25th anniversary of ordination.

 

1990's

 

1990

  • Rev. Goodrich resigns to become chaplain at Lutheran Homes in Oconomowoc

  • Pastor Vern Steffenson serves transition

  • Latvian Lutherans begin to use church facilities once a month for worship

  • Pastor Duane Wisner installed as 5th Senior Pastor (1990-2006)

 

1991

  • Receivers for hearing impaired

 

1992

  • Thursday Evening Worship added to Summer schedule

  • July 13, church Parlor redecorated

 

1994

  • May 31, Parish Secretary Lois Weigelt resigns after 30 years of service

  • Hymnal supplements purchased

 

1995

  • Listening Post implemented to address dissension among members

  • Dan Fee becomes director of Senior and Hand Bell Choirs (1995-2004)

  • Kathy Fee becomes SCS Music Director (September)

 

1996

  • Jul. 29, Cry room redecorated

 

1997

  • Church Pipe organ debt is paid in full

  • December: Mural hung at entrance

 

1998

  • Bereavement Ministry program begins

  • Visioning process begins

 

1999

  • Anniversary Book and Video work begins

  • Church sponsors Kosovo refugee family

  • Confirmation program adds rotating service centers

  • Partners in Ministry started; switched from pastoral-style to mission-style church

 

2000's

 

2000

  • 75th Anniversary year celebrations.

  • "With One Voice" - hymnal supplement introduced.

  • Pastor Dewey celebrates 25th anniversary of his ordination.

  • Befriender Ministry begins.

 

2001

  • The congregation approves renovation plans to the Sanctuary.

  • New Sunday School format, 'First Footsteps in Faith', begins.

  • Lay communion ministry begins.

 

2002

  • Parish Nurse Gail Tomkowiak is hired through a shared program with Agnesian Healthcare (2002-2008).

  • Kay Salzman hired as administrative assistant (parish administrator).

 

2003

  • "Benevolence Bazaar" held.

  • Joanne Talaska retires from Ministry Assistant position.

  • Sherri Bucher hired as office assistant.

 

2004

  • Thanksgiving dinner is held.

  • Paul Thompson hired as Senior Choir Director (2004-2007).

 

2005

  • Second Benevolence Bazaar is held.

 

2006

  • $200,000 Line of Credit approved by congregation as short-term solution to budget shortfall and internal borrowing, plus the future need for a new roof.

  • Michelle O'Brien, Director of Music Ministries, is hired; contemporary "praise" worship service replaces traditional 10:30 a.m. worship beginning in October. (2006-2008)

  • October: Pastor Dewey Wisner resigns and returns to former profession of pharmacy; Pastor Bruce Pangborn begins Interim Ministry.

 

2007

  • January: Paul Thompson terminated as Senior Choir Director; Michelle O'Brien assumes his duties.

  • January: $70,000 deficit budget is approved, on recommendation of leadership, to continue covering income shortfalls, subsidize pay raises and support increases in programs and music staff budget.

  • Pastor Pangborn terminated in July; Pastor Robert Rosenberg replaces him as Interim Pastor.

  • Congregation approves new church roof at a cost of $38,000, half of cost paid with special gifts and remainder funded through Line of Credit.

 

2008

  • Scaled down budget approved by congregation; Parish Nurse, Director of Music Ministries, and paid nursery staff positions are terminated due to budget constraints.

  • Church basement extensively damaged by sewer back-up during heavy flooding throughout the region; clean-up and repairs extend into the fall months.

  • June: Fondy Food Pantry loses entire inventory in the flooding and decides to vacate the building after 36 years of free tenancy.

  • September: Amy Phillips is appointed new Adult Choir Director (2008-09).

  • October: Lollipop Park Learning Center is transitioned to Bright Beginnings Daycare, with new ownership and management.

 

2009

  • Flood repairs and renovations completed in April; Open House and rededication of basement combined with a day of appreciation for Interim Pastor Bob Rosenberg.

  • Pastor William Gruenstern recommended by Call Committee and approved unanimously by congregational vote to be called as Pastor of Church of Our Saviour. 

  • Pastor Bill assumed his duties on May 1; May 28 Installation Service was led by Bishop Jim Justman and his Associate, Rev. Joy Mortensen-Wiebe.

  • September: Sandy Albano selected to succeed Amy Phillips as Adult Choir Director.

  • Line of credit exhausted; 10% cut in staff wages/hours proposed in order to balance 2010 budget.

 

2010's

 

2010

  • New congregational photo directory completed.

  • "Kids B Fit" zumba and other classes hosted at COOS.

  • Council holds May workshop with Synod resource person: Pastor Frank Maxwell from Door County.

  • Line of credit loan and Improvement Loan (mortgage) combined and refinanced for lower interest and payments.

  • After completing an annual performance review, Pastor Gruenstern accepts Council's Severance Package offer and steps aside in September.

  • Pastor Bob Rosenberg returns as Pastor under a term call. Steps and goals toward rebuilding are set.

  • New ecumenical efforts include monthly potlucks and a Christmas Eve service at Cathedral Church of St. Paul, with ELCA and Episcopalian bishops presiding.

 

2011

  • A balanced budget was proposed and approved for 2011. Staff hours/wages that were cut in 2009 were restored by mid-year.

  • Executive committees of COOS and Immanuel-Trinity meet occasionally during year to explore sharing ministries. 

  • Congregation-wide survey provides new data for congregational profile.

  • Call Committee selected in fall and begins working on Call process with Associate with the Bishop Joy Mortensen Wiebe. 

  • For the first time in over 10 years, the financial year ended "in the black" with a balanced budget and a $15,000 surplus.

 

2012

  • April: Call Committee unanimously recommends "first call" candidate Matthew Agee to fill our pastoral vacancy.

  • May 15: Matthew Agee is approved by a unanimous congregational vote (81-0) and accepts Call to serve as Pastor. 

  • July: Pastor Matthew begins his ministry, with Installation held on August 16, Bishop Justman and Associate Mortensen-Wiebe presiding.

  • 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Klaus Becker Tracker Pipe Organ culminates in September with Hymn Sing and Organ Recital, featuring David Heller, organist, and former Pastor Gerald Goodrich leading the hymn sing

  • First annual "Trunk or Treat Night" attracts some 300 children and parents to our parking lot in October.

  • Searl Pickett Chamber Music Series begins holding events at COOS.